J-Alert issued in Hokkaido, Aomori

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hokkaido prefectural officials gather information about North Korea’s missile launch on Tuesday morning.

The J-Alert warning system was triggered in Hokkaido, Aomori and other prefectures on Tuesday morning, following the launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile by North Korea.

An alert is issued when missiles are expected to fly over or land in a region of Japan, according to the Cabinet Secretariat.

Local governments receive information via the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and issue public warnings via outdoor loudspeakers and other means. Emergency messages are also sent to mobile phones.

The Cabinet Secretariat advises people to evacuate immediately if they receive a J-Alert as missiles can reach targets in as little as 10 minutes after a launch.

However, no J-Alert warning was transmitted in the Hokkaido town of Shin-Hidaka because, according to the town, its J-Alert receiver was broken and has been under repair since Sept. 28. As a result, no warning announcements or sirens were triggered via the municipality’s emergency broadcast system, including outdoor loudspeakers.

Railway companies in Hokkaido and the Tohoku region temporarily suspended services on Tuesday morning. Aircraft and ships around Japan were also warned about potential danger after the missile launch.

Hokkaido Railway Co. stopped all trains at about 7:27 a.m. but gradually started resuming operations 15 minutes later. According to the railway firm, 13 trains were canceled.